Oklahoma’s congressional delegation is urging the Air Force to consider the 138th Fighter Wing at Tulsa International Airport as the next home for the F-35A.
“Tulsa’s 138th Fighter Wing National Guard, and the state of Oklahoma, is well-positioned to beddown the F-35,” said Sen. James Lankford (R), according to a joint press release. “As the second largest National Guard fighter wing in America, Tulsa is ideal for operating this caliber of fighter jet. Our training capabilities, infrastructure and community support makes Tulsa the ideal strategic location for this key national security asset,” Lankford said.
The Air Force is expected to announce its basing decisions for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter next year, including two new Air National Guard locations which would start receiving the fifth-generation fighter aircraft in 2022 or later. The Air Force previously selected Burlington Air Guard Station, Vt., to host 18 F-35A fighter jets.
The 138th, located on the north end of the Tulsa International Airport, has an experienced cadre of pilots and maintainers, airspace and training ranges, and facilities ready to operate and sustain the F-35A mission, according to the lawmakers. Criteria that will be considered in the final candidate basing decision will include training environment, facilities, personnel and overall cost to beddown and operate the fighter jets.